Sunday, December 20, 2015

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) - 06Nov2015 and 27Feb2016

The Burrowing Owl is a bird that has only been seen a couple times in North Carolina in the last 30 years and I think one of those was a dead bird presumed to have been assisted by a truck's grill.  So when I was lucky enough to be contacted by someone that had a lead on a Burrowing Owl at Masonboro Island off Wrightsville Beach, I was ecstatic that he called me.  We motored over first thing in the morning and fanned out.  There was 6 of us and we were following a tip from someone that had seen it the day before.  It didn't take long.  The bird flushed right in front of me and I managed this shot before it landed about 75 yards away.

The above shot ended up being my best because we kept our distance as this was clearly a bird on high alert.  Unfortunately the person(s) that found the bird preferred that we did not publicize the bird so I had to keep it under wraps until eventually it got out.  I understand the view that the bird should be kept undisturbed, but this bird chose a pretty high traffic location and most birders are way more sensitive to it's plight than the hundreds of surfers and fishermen stomping through the area.

Update: I went back in February and re-found the owl and got some better shots.

Below I have added a picture from Arizona where Burrowing Owls hang out on window casings.

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